Why estate agents should try content marketing

Why estate agents should try content marketing
David ButlerBy David Butler in Content Marketing

Marketing is one of the most common ways that an estate agent can introduce themselves to prospective clients. Word-of-mouth referrals are obviously the best way to get business, but some form of marketing is always required to get the ball rolling.
Many estate agents, especially smaller ones, are still relying on old school methods to gain new instructions, using weak marketing materials with generic messages that struggle to appeal. It’s understandable to an extent. We speak to a lot of agents who feel like they don’t have the resources to promote a consistent marketing message, so they often overlook it altogether.

However, with the right tools, you can start to spread your message to the right people using a technique called ‘content marketing’. Let’s find out why estate agents should try it.

What is content marketing?

The way we communicate is constantly evolving, and it’s important to realise that clients’ mindsets change too. People are used to ‘obvious’ marketing messages and have become somewhat immune to them, not really taking away the core message and often ignoring them completely. Content marketing is an authentic way to reach out to customers while improving brand recognition in the process.

Think of it as a conversation with your client, talking to them about the information they actually want to hear about, information that will enhance their knowledge and allow them to see your agency as an important player in the local market – more than just a business trying to win instructions.

Be different and stand out from the crowd

Let’s face it, the residential property game is oversaturated, with many agents struggling for their voices to be heard. The ones who are brave and embrace new methods are the ones who will end up standing out – they will start to gain leverage.

While everyone else is busy telling customers about their latest instruction, how many properties they take on, or how long they have been in business for, you can be a lot smarter just by providing clients with information that is relevant to them. That might be by providing info on the most popular type of property sold in the area over the last six months, or how many people have moved into your postcode in the last few years. That’s the beauty of content marketing: you tell your potential clients interesting stories that subconsciously shows the client that you understand both them and the market.

Gain a foothold in the local market

Most, if not all, local property markets are highly competitive, so anything you can use to gain an advantage will be of huge benefit. If clients are receiving regular material with in-depth information stacked with figures and data about the local area, they will soon come to see you as an important figure in the market. While your agency may be small in size, it will soon grow in stature.

Once the customer’s mind has been made, up and they see you as go-to agency for the latest local market news, the next steps are natural, which, of course, are new instructions, more sign-ups and greater exposure.

Prove you are the best in the area

Agents always say they are the best; it’s something embedded in the culture of the industry. This is a natural occurrence when the nature of the business is based on how much you sell.

However, just saying you are the best holds little value. In all honesty we don’t think you should focus on being the best, just concentrate on delivering a message that is informative and insightful, on a consistent basis. Something organic that finds different ways from other agents to communicate with would-be clients.

Think like a market leader and be more engaged

Look no further than the established brands for proof of how content marketing’s effectiveness. Foxtons, Chestertons, Knight Frank, Hamptons – they all have in-house teams dedicated to delivering a consistent message that informs customers about the market.

It’s not just in the property field that the big hitters use content marketing either. All the worldwide brands do it, from Coca-Cola to Microsoft to high-end fashion labels like Armani. They do it because they know it works and they understand the value in engaging with customers on a human level.

You will encourage more interactions from your target audience if you engage with them on a mutual subject. If these interactions are positive, it will promote your brand each time there is engagement.

Get brand prestige of the highest order

You might start off with one marketing article each month, something talking about an interesting topic in the local area – something you can send in an email or through letterboxes. Then it starts to evolve naturally. As long as it’s relevant, insightful and shows that you really know your market, local residents will begin to hold your agency in the same light as they do the big-name brands.

People are always looking for something to sense check their opinions, especially when it comes to their property or property portfolio. If you produce some detailed articles which include statistics and factual data about the market, they will start to see you as an authority within the area. When a decision looms about a property, you will be the brand they edge towards – even if it’s only for information and insight to start with.

Online agents with a personal touch

Content marketing is also a good way to get one-up on the online agents who take a lot of the hassle out of selling and renting, often by using key messages to interact with their audience. However, if you are matching what the online agencies are doing but still offering the human element that your agency provides, you know, the one-on-one interaction that is priceless compared to an online chat assistant, suddenly you’re competing on all fronts. After all, these online agents won’t understand the local market the way you do, so it’s vital that you communicate that.

Make sure that any content you distribute online is vast and full of in-depth knowledge so search engines, including Google, will value it more than generic, run-of-the-mill material. Ultimately, search engines valuing your content means better rankings and higher search results, which equates to more exposure.

If the content is rich with information about the local area, it is likely engines will rank your website over the online competition, at least for local searches, which is what is most important for town-specific agencies.

Trying content marketing is a must for estate agents

So there you have it. While the idea of building a content strategy to implement on a regular basis may seem daunting, it is something that can give your agency the edge over all the others in the local market. It’s worth starting, or even trying for a set amount of time, to see the effect on your goals. Have a look at how to start content marketing to get you going. You can even outsource the content marketing for your estate agents so all you really need to do is focus on what you do best: selling and letting.

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